After taking a two-set lead, the Spaniard faced a resurgent Tsitsipas who won three straight sets – the only three sets Nadal gave up in the entire tournament – to knock him out of the quarter-finals.
The five-set thriller – which ended 3-6 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 – lasted over four hours and ended around midnight in Melbourne, but relief and joy was evident on Greek. face in celebration.
His victory leads him to the semi-finals of the tournament where he will face Daniil Medvedev.
“It’s an incredible feeling to fight at such a high level and not play on the court. I started very nervous. I don’t know what happened after the third set. I flew. like a bird and everything worked for me. “
Despite entering the Australian Open with a cloud of injuries hanging over him and seeking to make men’s history by winning his 21st Grand Slam, surpassing the record he shares with Roger Federer, Nadal looked compelling from the start.
The 34-year-old hadn’t lost a set on his way to the quarter-finals and that form continued from the start against fifth seed Tsitsipas.
Although the Greek looked aggressive from the start, Nadal showed his experience and class, maneuvering the 22-year-old and dissecting the pitch at will.
Early breaks in the first two sets and dominance of his serve saw the 20-time Grand Slam winner take a two-set lead in just over an hour.
However, Tsitsipas finally found his marks in the third set. He didn’t give up on a service match and, after taking Nadal to a tie-break, he managed to secure a setback and inflict the abandoned first set on Nadal in this year’s competition.
And in the fourth set, Tsitsipas looked a lot more impressive and competitive, forcing Nadal to defend multiple break points as his own service matches went on with more ease.
The fifth and final set followed the same mold, with players keeping their serve until the 11th game of the set when, showing remarkable resilience, Tsitsipas broke the veteran’s serve, leaving him to serve for the set, the match. and a place in the semi-finals.
Although the world No.2 showed his champion spirit by testing his young rival, Tsitsipas held the serve to advance to his second Australian Open semi-final.
Earlier on Wednesday, Medvedev got the best of compatriot and friend Andrey Rublev to secure his place in the semi-finals.
The fourth seed, who blitzed Rublev 7-5 6-3 6-2 over Rod Laver Arena, has now won 19 straight games since starting last year’s Paris Masters.
“[Medvedev] is playing very well and has been very consistent, with a lot of back-to-back wins, ”Tsitsipas said.
“I need to recover and take a good ice bath. I can’t wait to see the game and every game I play here is a chance to play my best tennis. It will be amazing to see the crowds again.”
The other semi-final will be played between Novak Djokovic and Aslan Karatsev.
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